Aniita  Brearton: "It’s too easy to get caught up in worrying about the future"

Timing is everything with a marketing campaign and as we found out this year, is also everything with marketing-related advice. 

On March 11, Anita Brearton published her monthly column titled "Marketing in a Time of Crisis." It was two days before the federal government declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Conflicting information filled the headlines around what actions we should take as individuals and as businesses. Anita's article, with its practical advice sharing steps businesses could implement immediately no matter what came next arrived at the right time as we all dealt with the uncertainty that would categorize the rest of the year.

As CEO and co-founder of CabinetM and in her other monthly columns, Anita helps clients and readers navigate the complexities of the marketing technology they have and the tools they need, all while reminding them to think strategy first.

What kept you sane during 2020?

Honestly, television. Working from home makes it so easy to sit and work really late. Early in the pandemic we got into the routine of making sure we stepped away from our computers and watched at least two hours of TV a night.

Where do you look for inspiration for your articles?

Most of my inspiration comes from listening to the challenges that our customers are having or from a personal experience.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Stay in the moment. It’s too easy to get caught up in worrying about the future, and that’s been particularly true this year. I’ve worked really hard to stay present and focus on my immediate priorities and that has kept my stress level down and made me more productive.

Which of your projects or research from 2020 (or upcoming for 2021) are you most excited about and why?

At CabinetM, we launched LibraryM in early December as a resource for all things MarTech. Our CabinetM customers were the inspiration for the new site. Over the last several months many of them have reached out to us for help finding information and data related to marketing technology and though that research is not core to what we do at CabinetM we jumped in to help. With everyone juggling working from home, managing teams remotely and childcare, no one has time to spend browsing the web and they aren’t surrounded by colleagues that can help with answers to questions. When we looked at how we could make life a little easier for our customers and others, it was obvious that formalizing and sharing what we were doing informally made the most sense and LibraryM was born.

If you could only recommend one business book, what would it be and why?

"Marketing Warfare," by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It was written a long time ago, but is still relevant today and I frequently recommend it to new marketers. It’s the book that helped me transition from being a tactical marketer to a strategic marketer.

Speed Round

What was the best book you read in 2020?

I haven’t read as much as I would’ve liked this year but of the books that I did read, "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang has stayed with me. It’s a collection of short science fiction stories some of which really make you think. It’s a book I’ve recommended to friends.

What was the best movie you watched in 2020?

This is a good question for me. My husband and two stepsons one of whom is in Estonia, the other in London, started a Zoom film group so we’ve watched a ton of movies, in a wide variety of languages and genres. Some have been really weird. Of this group the one I liked that I didn’t expect to like was Monos, a movie from Colombia. This was the description “On a remote mountaintop, eight kids with guns watch over a hostage and a conscripted milk cow.”

What was the best meal you ate in 2020?

Anything my daughter cooked this year.She’s in lock down with us and cooks once a week.I’m so grateful not to have plan, shop or prepare a meal on that day that even if she wasn’t an extraordinary cook, which she is, I would still label those meals as my favorite.I’ve really missed the break that eating out gave us.